Sunday, October 2, 2016

Electoral College Could Pick a Different President

As poll margins get slimmer between unpopular candidates and polarization continues to increase among the American electorate, could rogue Electoral College voters swing the Election?

Theoretically, yes. It's just highly, highly unlikely.

"There have been a number of occasions in the past where individual electors have, in effect, thrown away their vote," Jack Rakove, a History and Political Science Professor at Stanford University, told CNN's Michael Smerconish Saturday.

Since no instance of this in recent history has affected the final outcome of an Election, people don't normally take notice, Rakove said.

But, Rakove said, "If some kind of crisis arose where some group of electors felt that they had to act independently and exercise what they thought was their constitutional authority under Article II of the Constitution, then we'd be in a truly interesting situation."

The Electoral College consists of 538 electors who each vote for President and Vice President on December 19th.

A candidate must have 270 votes to win the majority, and although most states bind their Electoral College votes to their popular vote, not all do.

But that doesn't mean one should be expecting any Constitutional crises come December.

"The chances of this happening are -- I'll swear on a stack of Bibles -- in the slim to no range," Rakove said.

Maine and Nebraska employ a “District system” in which two at-large Electors vote for the State’s popular majority and one Elector votes for each Congressional District’s popular majority. In the November 2, 2004 Election, Colorado voters rejected a “proportional system” in which Electors would vote proportionally based on the state’s popular vote.

Very rarely have electors voted for someone other than for whom they pledged.

“Faithless Electors” have never decided a Presidency.

There has been one Faithless Elector in each of the following Elections: 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1976, and 1988. A blank ballot was cast in 2000. The District of Columbia and 26 states “bind” their electors to vote for their promised candidate, via a number of methods including oaths and fines.

The other option is a tie vote. In this case, the House would select a President and the Senate would decide who is the Vice-President.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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1 comment:

richardwinger said...

Rogue presidential electors did affect the vice-presidential choice in 1836. The Virginia Democratic electors refused to vote for Richard Johnson, the Democratic nominee for vice-president. So no one got a majority in the electoral college for vice-president, and the US Senate had to choose the vice-president. The Senate chose Johnson.